Regimental Museum and Archives
- Virtual Tour Page 2 (10th Battalion)
The 10th Battalion
The next gallery chronicles key
components of the history of the 10th Battalion in the First World War.
On entering the 10th
Battalion gallery, the viewer will find on their right hand side two
display cases with various artifacts brought back from the trenches of
World War One. At centre is a column devoted to the
Japanese-Canadians who fought with the 10th in the Great War; while
some other battalions held Japanese-Canadians in disdain, the Tenth
Battalion employed many of them without prejudice, and decorated
several for bravery in combat with the enemy. Some of the proud
veterans of the trenches would view their service with some bitterness
after 1941; some of those same decorated soldiers would be forced to
live in Canadian internment camps during the Second World War.
Major William Ashton
Cockshutt served in all three units perpetuated by today's Regiment,
and was instrumental in forming the Calgary Highlanders. A display
devoted to him is central in the Tenth Battalion Gallery.
Major Cockshutt was born
in 1892, the eldest son of W. F. Cockshutt, a long-standing member of
Parliament, from Brantford, Ontario. His uncle, James Cockshutt,
founded the Cockshutt Plow Company which was known throughout Western
When Ashton was fourteen,
he was not expected to live past the age of twenty. His doctors
recommended the only possible cure for his asthma was to live in
Western Canada. Cockshutt moved to Calgary, where he lived on a farm
until his health improved. He attended Western Canada College, where
he was introduced to the values of a military lifestyle.
In 1909, he entered the Calgary office of the family business.
While in Calgary, he joined the 103rd Calgary Rifles as a private and
later commissioned as a Lieutenant. In the Spring of 1914, Lieutenant
Cockshutt was among the first contingent of 300 men, from the 103rd
Calgary Rifles, who left for Camp Valcartier to join the 10th
In Europe, he fought at
the Battle of Ypres, Festubert and Givenchy, where he was wounded and
eventually was returned to Brantford, Ontario. In Brantford, he joined
the 125th Battalion and was promoted to Captain. He continued training
and went overseas with the 125th Battalion where he attained the rank
In the fall of 1918, he
returned to the Calgary office of the Cockshutt Plow Co. and rejoined
the 10th Battalion. Ashton was one of three Officers who assisted in
the formation of the Calgary Highlanders. Cockshutt remained a
Highlander until 1922, when he was transferred to Edmonton with the
Cockshutt Plow Co.. He held senior positions within the company and
with other large corporations.
William Ashton Cockshutt
was one of the few Officers to serve in all three Regiments which
perpetuate the Calgary Highlanders. He lived to be ninety-seven, a
remarkable feat for a boy not expected to live past the age of twenty.
To the left of the
Cockshutt display are photos and replica medal groups of the
Battalion's two Victoria Cross holders - Acting Sergeant Arthur Knight
and Private Harry Brown. Both VCs were earned late in the war, and
both awards were unfortunately posthumous; neither man would ever know
that he had been awarded the highest medal for gallantry in the
British Empire. The text of the citations are also included in the
display and serve as but two examples of the extreme heroism displayed
by men of the Tenth Battalion throughout the First World War.
10TH BN. C.E.F.
Harry Brown was born in
Gananoque, Ontario, on the 11th of May, 1898. The events described in
the citation took place during the second day of fighting for Hill 70,
the 16th of August, 1917. Private Brown is buried in Noex-les-Mines
Communal Cemetery, four miles south-east of Bethune, France.
For most conspicuous
bravery, courage and devotion to duty:
After the capture of a
position, the enemy massed in force and counter-attacked. The
situation became very critical, all wires being cut. It was of the
utmost importance to get word back to headquarters. This soldier and
one other were given the message with orders to deliver the same at
all cost. The other messenger was killed. Pte. Brown had his arm
shattered, but continued on through an intense barrage until he
arrived at the close support lines and found an officer.
He was so spent that he
fell down the dug-out steps, but retained consciousness long enough to
hand over his message saying "Important Message". He then became
unconscious and died in the dressing-station a few hours later.
His devotion to duty was
of the highest possible degree imaginable, and his successful delivery
of the message undoubtedly saved the loss of the position for the time
and prevented many casualties.
Gazette, 17th October 1917.
SGT. ARTHUR GEORGE
10TH BN. C.E.F.
Arthur George Knight was
born near Lewes, Sussex, England, on the 26th of June, 1886. In 1911
he came to Canada where he worked as a carpenter prior to the outbreak
of war. He joined the 46th Battalion in December, 1914, went overseas
in the following year, and was sent to the 10th Battalion in France.
He served a total of three years in France before he was fatally
wounded. Sergeant Knight was awarded the Croix de Guerre by the
Belgian Government in November, 1917, for his outstanding service. The
action which won him the Victoria Cross took place on the 2nd day of
September, 1918, at Villers-lez-Cagnicourt, France. Knight and Sussex
Crescents in Coventry Place, Regina, Saskatchewan, are named in his
honour. He is buried in Dominion Cemetery, Hendecourt-lez-Cagincourt,
For most conspicuous
bravery, initiative, and devotion to duty when after an unsuccessful
attack, Sgt. Knight led a bombing section forward, under very heavy
fire of all descriptions, and engaged the enemy at close quarters.
Seeing that his party continued to be held up, he dashed forward
alone, bayoneting several of the enemy machine-gunners and trench
mortar crews and forcing the remainder to retire in confusion. He then
brought forward a Lewis gun and directed his fire on the retreating
enemy, inflicting many casualties.
In the subsequent advance
of his platoon in pursuit, Sgt. Knight saw a party of about thirty of
the enemy go into a deep tunnel which led off the trench. He again
dashed forward alone, and having killed one officer and two N.C.O.'s,
he captured twenty other ranks. Subsequently he routed, single-handed,
another enemy party which was opposing the advance of his platoon.
On each occasion he
displayed the greatest valour under fire at very close range, and by
his example of courage, gallantry and initiative, was a wonderful
inspiration to all.
This very gallant N.C.O.
was subsequently fatally wounded.
The final section of the
Tenth Battalion gallery is a life-size depiction of the Battalion's
first Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Russ Boyle, who was
killed in the unit's first combat action. The Battle of Kitcheners'
Wood was part of the overall Second Battle of Ypres; and began on the
night of 21-22 April 1915 when the Germans launched the first poison
gas attack of the war on the Western Front, routing two divisions of
French colonials and territorials and causing the First Canadian
Division to be hurriedly thrown into action.
Lieutenant Colonel Boyle
was leading the Tenth and Sixteenth Battalions in a hastily organized
counterattack when he was struck five times by a German machine gun.
He died a few days later, but the Tenth Battalion gained everlasting
fame in their successful attack, earning the Calgary Highlanders the
right to wear a prized Oak Leaf shoulder badge in commemoration of
St. Julien's Day is
commemorated annually; Kitchener's Wood was located near the town of
St. Julien where much fighting occurred after the initial
counterattack of the Canadians at the Wood.
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